Just watched it last night. My vegan coworker wanted me to watch it since I have a couple other coworkers who come to me for dietary (and workout) advice.
Very interesting and sheds a lot of light.
However, I didn't notice them differentiating much between processed foods and meat/dairy. They really tended to bunch it all together. Which makes their studies lose a shit-load of validity. It seemed mostly like a movie put together to bastardize the meat/dairy industry instead of shed light on the effects of eating different types of diets.
The "my way or the highway" attitude is not a good attitude to have if you want other researchers to take you seriously (oh wait, these guys are shunned in their industries for having the thoughts that are conveyed in this movie, I wonder why...). You're supposed to have a desire for more knowledge, not the desire to prove yourself right. That is why so much research done in every area of science is faulty. Because they aren't being objective, they're trying to prove themselves right and everyone else wrong. Merely having that thought in your head, even if it's a secret to literally everyone else, causes the validity of your research to plummet.
They did a part on a group of firefighters who switched to a plant-based diet. They showed how successful they are, how much more energy they have, and how much better they feel. That's great. What they didn't show is their diets and exercise habits prior to the diet change (they did briefly explain one of the members' diet being bad and him having a heart disease scare as a result, it was explained that they all switched to the plant-based diet in order to support his change to be more healthy). Very convenient to leave all that out. They did a similar part with a UFC fighter who switched to an all plant-based diet on his own.
What they don't explain in this movie is how much muscle was built up (by the UFC fighter and the firefighters) before switching to these diets and what kind of shape they were in prior to (again, except for the one firefighter who was in bad shape as a result of terrible eating habits). I'd be willing to bet that even though they feel better and have more energy, they probably haven't added an ounce of muscle to their frames since they made the switch and I'll even take it further and say that they are probably experiencing entropy at a very slow rate (since they are still getting protein through the veggies, just second-rate protein without having meat or dairy in their diets). Placebo effect can make you feel great, by the way.
Every person I saw in that show (with the exception of the UFC fighter who had grown up eating chicken and fish along with his plant-based foods) who made the switch did not have a body type that I desire. Basically, they looked like a bunch of sissies to me. The firefighters had some strength, but once again, this could have been from muscle that was built prior to making the diet switch and simply hasn't all gone away yet. 2 months? Lets wait 2 years and see how strong they still are and if they were able to keep any of that muscle they already had.
They showed one of the firefighters climb up the firefighter pole with just his hands. I'm pretty sure he was able to do that before he switched his diet. Not something that you'd just be able to do because you're a vegan now. The ability to do something like that is not developed in a matter of a couple months. Naturally, they didn't mention in the movie whether he was able to do that already or not. They showed them doing a lot of pull-ups and such, but I'm willing to bet that they've had a regular work-out that includes pull-ups for years.
All the sickly people with a high risk of heart disease who got good results from switching to a whole food, vegetable based diet were not identified as ever eating whole, non-processed foods to begin with (meat-based or not). Nor were they identified as people who live anything other than a sedentary lifestyle. Very convenient to omit this information.
The simple act of getting off the couch and exercising sometimes probably would have gotten them results by itself without a diet switch. On top of that, taking processed food out of their diets would have taken it a step further. Somehow the movie-makers translate this to "meat and dairy is bad for you".
They did a part explaining how animal-based foods cause a build-up of cholesterol in our blood vessels and switching to the vegan diet causes the build-up to completely go away. This part seemed more legit and also, I'm not very knowledgable about cholesterol. But what I will say is that I understand that living a very active lifestyle involving a lot of intense excercise does a great job of keeping your cholesterol down.
Correct me if I'm wrong. So if animal-based food does that, but you exercise enough, I'm not sure if you have anything to worry about in that regard (assuming you're not downing fast-food every day for lunch and dinner).
In this department, I will say that if you are sedentary, you should focus more on fruits and veggies for the brunt of your diet. Meat and dairy is for people who do intense physical work, not couch potatoes.
Also, they test the effects of animal based foods on rats, but then turn around and say you shouldn't take milk from one species and give it to another. Um, you're testing on another species to tell us what will happen to us. Can you say hypocrite?
When they did the studies in China, they found some interesting stuff on the different types of cancer in different regions. I don't remember them ever actually stating how common any of these types of cancer were. I'm pretty sure it's because cancer was very uncommon across the board. Just because they found certain regions with a significantly higher amount of cancer than others doesn't mean that it was rampant in those regions, which was the way they made it sound.
It did shed interesting light on it, though. I mean, something is significantly more than nothing, so even if it wasn't common, certain regions having cancer and others not does say something. But there are so many other factors involved, to jump to the conclusion that it is simply because of their diet is not scientifically sound.
Like I said, it was very interesting and did make me want to add more vegetables and fruits to my diet, but they conveniently left a lot of information out of the movie that would have made their research look more valid (and also most likely would have hurt their arguments). Swear off animal-based foods? Never. Eat more fruits and veggies? Sure. So they just spent 90 minutes convincing me to do what my parents have been trying to do since I was a little child. Congratulations.
My coworker claims that there are successful bodybuilders who are vegans (meaning they eat no animal-based food at all, no meat, no milk, no eggs, nothing). Can anyone confirm this to be true? I find it hard to believe, but wouldn't be surprised if there were 1 or 2. There are exceptions to everything, but exceptions don't define rules.
That is my 2 cents on the movie: Forks over Knives.